There are a lot of startups and companies appearing every month. Most of them do shit, only a few matter and should receive support and investments. What separates the former from the latter?
Ideas that matter
Easy — there are many issues waiting for good solutions which have an impact on the environment, society, science, technology and health.
- Environmental startup — startups doing CO2, plastics cleanup, making renewable energy accessible and cheaper. Battery and energy storage startups are key for the future.
- Sharing and gig economy — job and money creation companies are helping people make a living thus they are very important. Whether it is renting an apartment like AirBnB, driving a car like Uber or allowing individuals to sell hand-made goods (Etsy) or services (TaskRabbit), these are all good. They make a difference in society and allow people to monetize their hobbies and interests.
- Job and task automation — automating dangerous jobs and activities, which kill people, is a must. Driving, albeit fun, should be a thing of the past. The major reason is safety of passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.
- Scientific research — governments and investors should fund R&D centers involved with new technologies and research. These places can come up with things we can all benefit from.
- Food creation — autonomous farming, vertical farms and vegetarian burgers are just some of the examples. Food is necessary and won’t be enough in the near future. There are many companies involved in solving this problem.
- Healthcare and augmentation — better healthcare, 3D printed organs, augmentation with technology and biotechnology, implants restoring movement. These things can help a lot of people return to their former lives and live better.
- Government — online forms instead of document piles and unnecessary waiting in lines. Democratization and openness of where taxes go, making everything transparent and accessible. An idea would be a petition and Kickstarter-like system where citizens can come up with actionable ideas, which will benefit the society.
- Education — online courses and websites allow anyone to expand their knowledge and capabilities. The whole of human knowledge is accessible on the Internet in one way or another. Online courses can supplement or even replace formal education. These courses include teachers as well and allow one-to-one conversation with the student as well as student forums where they discuss assignments and share materials.
My personal opinion is these technologies result in mostly garbage products with only a few decent ones.
- Augmented Reality — a new technology overlying information layer on top of a camera image. This will be useful for retailers (both in store and in customer’s home — trying new furniture using an app). Other than that — education and travel guides. It’s a nice tech if used properly, but most products based in AR will be stupid shit. It should be kept to smartphones. Glasses and AR wearables are a gimmick. There are many stupid companies with hype being the only product — for example Magic Leap. They have nothing. Some intellectual property and that’s pretty much it. They are years away from a real product with rumors stating their demo is just computer generated graphics, nothing resembling the real thing.
- Vurtual Reality — I see limited application in games and that’s pretty much it. User adoption is low. Staring at a screen inches away is harmful for the eyes. What would happen if the screen is on the eyes and the processing unit on the head — a lot of guaranteed bad stuff.
- Internet of Things — “In IoT, the S stands for security”. IoT can be written as IoS — Internet of Shit. Connected toasters, smart homes and wearables. Security hell. What happened when Amazon’s AWS went down — people were locked out of their smart homes.. Pathetic. Aside from some medical solutions, everything else is looking for trouble or investor’s money.
New technologies are emerging. Some of them will benefit the humankind and the planet, but the use of others will benefit just the founders of shitty products leeching money from investors.